As an 18 year old, my life goal was to retire at 40. I thought I’ll save 2 crore INR (~= 0.5 Million USD at the time) and this should be more than enough. I hit that goal at 28 so I raised the limit a bit higher. I’m now 37 and have had to repeat the exercise a few (many?) times since then. Just stopped deceiving myself after a while. Money does not motivate me. At all.1

The 40 year target has always been a constant though. I had no wish to continue slogging a 9-5 job beyond that. The challenge with this statement is: ~70% of my self-worth is tied to what I’m building, today. I absolutely, unabashedly love what I do. I stumbled into product as a career but none of my other creative hobbies (cooking, writing, reading, woodworking, toys) are as fulfilling as building products which thousands of people use daily.

This crisis has consumed me whole for the better part of this year. I picked up side hustles not because they make me happy but because they have a potential to generate money in a future where I wasn’t working a day job. As a result, all these hobbies stressed me out, to the point of depression.

It’s taken months of critical thinking to walk back from this precipice. It’s mind-boggingly stupid to stop doing something I love doing 2. It’s donkey dung on top of that shit mountain to go at it alone and not with people who push me (and my ideas) to be better. It’s golden apples 3 on top of that crap to have zero downtime while you’re chasing this imaginary deadline.

In a world where I can patiently build businesses as a day job for the next decade, my optimization function was totally messed up. About to change this approach now. Wrote this down as a reminder to self for how stupid I can get with my biases.

  1. Maslow’s hierarchy is a few decades old now so this isn’t a terribly original insight. Despite the theory’s low predictive power, I don’t have kids or loans or pets which might’ve tilted this balance. ↩︎

  2. Especially in a world where life expectancy is only increasing. It alters the monetary goal by a large, unpredictable margin. ↩︎

  3. I understood that reference ⍟ ↩︎


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